Democracy and rights
Algeria has undergone a new "Arab Spring"
beginning in 2019. The first, an international protest
wave in 2011, managed to dampen the regime by using the
country's oil money for various types of investments -
but freedom and popular influence did not increase. For
the "new spring" the outcome is still uncertain. Freedom
of the press and freedom of expression are guaranteed in
the Constitution, but are not as secure in reality.
In the spring of 2019, regime critics were seen
holding not only demonstrations but also lessons in
political science in parks and assembly rooms. That was
a challenge in itself: Demonstrations were, in fact,
prohibited, and parties that had seats in parliament
were mostly those that joined the military-led regime.
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Algeria, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
The opposition still believes that those who govern
the country have not fulfilled earlier promises of
democratization and increased legal security, but the
demonstrations that began in 2019 have had several
effects: There has been a certain exchange of power
holders, and people with strong ties to the old circles
of power have been confronted correct. Strikes and
demonstrations - every Friday and sometimes in between -
have been largely tolerated, despite the bans. Media has
been able to report on the wave of protests (the
demonstrations continued until the corona pandemic in
2020 made it impossible for public groups, which were
banned). The regime has given in to many of the popular
demands, but activists are still threatened by
Algeria was ranked 106 out of 180 when Transparency
International called the corruption in the world 2019,
see list here. A number of businessmen and others with
close ties to the inner circle of power were arrested,
perhaps to appease the opposition. It is too early to
decide whether the changes in society will go into depth
and become lasting.
Freedom of expression and media
When the outbreak of civil war in the 1990s (see
Modern history), about 100 media workers were murdered
and many were imprisoned or threatened. Islamist groups
took on most of the murders, but the lack of independent
investigations aroused suspicion that forces within or
near the regime were involved.
The state of emergency prevailed in 1992–2011 and
provided an opportunity to sentence up to ten years in
prison for statements that were deemed to have
threatened the state or public order - or which were
found to be “false or unilateral”. Newspapers were
withdrawn and journalists were sentenced to prison or
fined for slander. In 2006, however, virtually everyone
was released into an amnesty for political prisoners.
Since the state of emergency was lifted, a new media
law was adopted in 2012. An investigation board was
established and the possibility of imprisoning
journalists was limited. Journalists and bloggers who
are considered to have offended or humiliated the
President, Parliament, the judiciary or the military are
still at risk but can only be sentenced to fines, not to
prison. However, it sounds better than it is:
journalists can be prosecuted for other alleged crimes
that result in imprisonment.
According to critics, the law is vague and leaves
room for limiting reporting on, for example, criminal
investigations, financial events and security issues. It
also contains restrictions on who is allowed to own or
control media. In Reporters Without Borders Press
Freedom Ranking 2020, Algeria was ranked as country 146
out of 180, see list here.
Most newspapers depend on government printing and the
state's advertising favors government-run media, which
contributes to self-censorship. The media avoided
writing about President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's illness
for a long time, and when the country was shaken by a
major terrorist act in 2013, there was almost no
During the protest wave that took off for the 2019
presidential election, a "glass roof" burst: Journalists
complained that they were prevented from reporting, but
major demonstrations and arrests were gaining more
attention. Live broadcasts from debates, previously
unthinkable, began to occur.
The French-speaking press is more critical of
political Islam than the Arabic-speaking.
The government-run newspaper el-Moudjahid was founded
as an information agency for the liberation movement FLN
and has survived as the party's propaganda agency. (The
liberation movement in its time called soldiers in its
own ranks mujahids.) The state-controlled broadcasting
company and state radio channels also function as the
regime's speech tube.
TV and radio programs are broadcast in Arabic,
tamazight (Berber language) and French. There are
privately owned radio channels and in 2011 it was
allowed to start private TV.
The Internet is not controlled as strictly as in
several other countries in North Africa and the Middle
East. During the wave of protests in 2019, the newspaper
El Watan reported that almost half of the population,
especially the 18-34 age group, had access to social
media, where there were also calls for demonstrations.
Judicial system and legal security
The legal system is based on both French and Arabic
tradition. The Supreme Court (HD) is required by the
Constitution to ensure that laws are applied fairly and
in the same way in all parts of the country. Underneath
them, HD has 48 provincial courts, which in turn are
superior district courts that mainly apply Muslim law.
Military courts handle cases related to espionage and
state security or crimes committed by military
personnel. There, cases are handled as accusations
against the president's brother Said Bouteflika (see
Due to the fight against militant Islamism, a state
of emergency was introduced in 1992 and it was first
lifted in 2011 in connection with demonstrations for
democracy. The regime is criticized for not condemning
civilian civilians and murders during the civil war,
which is estimated to have claimed around 200,000 lives
(see Modern History).
A Supreme Legal Council with the President as
President and the Minister of Justice as Vice Chairman
oversees the judiciary as a whole.
The criticism of the state for human rights
violations has not ceased. Arbitrary arrests occur.
Representatives of human rights groups, trade unions and
media organizations are among those harassed by
authorities. The security forces' hunt for violent
Islamists has many times been bloody.
Torture and abuse occur in prisons and detention,
where conditions are otherwise miserable. The death
penalty remains in law, and death sentences are not
uncommon, but as far as is known, no executions have
been carried out since the state's measures against
militant Islamists were at its most intense in the early
Nationwide demonstrations and strikes are held in
protest of high unemployment and inadequate social
Regional cooperation agreement against terrorism
Algeria, Mali, Niger and Mauritania agree to fight
Terrorism against police officers
In an attack on the city of Bordj Bou Arreridj, 18
miles east of Algiers, 21 police officers are killed.
The attack is carried out by the Islamist terrorist
group al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim).
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is elected president
for a third term, with 90 percent of the vote. In second
place is the Labor Party's Louisa Hanoune, with just
over 4 percent support.
Increased minimum wage and cheaper food
The government raises wages by 30 percent ahead of
the April presidential election. Subsidies are
introduced on 15 basic foods and a new law regulates the
profit margin on several other foods.
Algeria joins the free trade zone
Algeria becomes a full member of the Arab Free Trade
Zone (Gafta), whose goal is to create a duty-free area
throughout North Africa and the Middle East.